Biographies & Memoirs


Why not take a crack at “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” someone at Music City Studio asked Ringo Starr. The very thought was absurd; Starr’s voice, homely if likable and charming, was nothing like Art Garfunkel’s. Then again, no one would have predicted that Starr would be in Nashville at the dawn of summer, surrounded by some of the city’s most preeminent pickers and making, of all things, a country album.

For someone who’d sought to avoid as much turbulence as possible, Starr had had a taxing first half of the year. The sight of McCartney yelling at him and asking him to leave the Cavendish Avenue home had been rattling enough. In the spring, he’d learned his wife, Maureen, was pregnant with their third child, who would join four-year-old Zak and two-year-old Jason. With no further Beatle albums on the horizon, Starr needed to work as much and as quickly as possible before the baby arrived.

His first musical foray outside the Beatles had struck a misguided note. Sentimental Journey, the collection of non-rock standards he’d worked on throughout the winter, had been released in March. In his home country, it climbed to number 7 on the charts; out of loyalty, just enough Beatle fans in the States bought it to push it to number 22. But the album was little more than a novelty, and it was hard to tell if Starr himself was in on the joke. Everyone from faithful fans to close friends had a difficult time listening to him reinvent himself as a big-band crooner, warbling pre-rock standards like “You Always Hurt the One You Love” and Cole Porter’s “Night and Day” as if he were in a local talent show. Klaus Voormann, who at Starr’s request arranged a version of “I’m a Fool to Care,” would cringe at the memory of the song. “I gave it a try,” he recalled. “I thought if I showed it to George Martin he wouldn’t like it, but he said, ‘Oh, Klaus, that’s very good.’ But it’s awful, terrible.”

By way of his close friend Harrison, Starr had already moved on. In the weeks after McCartney’s press statement, Harrison had decided the time had come to make an album of his own. He’d first ventured into solo waters with Wonderwall Music, a collection of mostly instrumental electronic tracks released in 1968 as the eponymous soundtrack for a film, but he now had a stack of songs left over from Beatle sessions as well as new ones he’d composed at Friar Park. With the encouragement of Voormann and Chris O’Dell (who helped him type out the lyrics), Harrison made plans to put his songs on tape.

The previous December, Harrison had sat in with Delaney and Bonnie (and their mutual friend Eric Clapton) on some of the American soul duo’s European shows. Delaney and Bonnie Bramlett—he from a small town in Mississippi, she from St. Louis—had made their name in Los Angeles as a white-trash version of Ike and Tina Turner. Clapton had seen their fiery stage show firsthand when Delaney and Bonnie opened for his now-defunct band Blind Faith and, inspired by their R&B and soul grooves and onstage hospitality, had hooked up with them as a backup guitarist, at least temporarily.

Harrison had much the same experience. Weary of open warfare in the Beatle camp, he’d sat in with Delaney and Bonnie onstage in London in December 1969. (Lennon attended the same show, and Bonnie Bramlett was struck by how small he was in person.) At his wife’s urging, Delaney Bramlett invited Harrison to join them for a few of their European shows. “I said, ‘Just ask him—what’s he going to do, say no?’” Bonnie Bramlett recalled. “He hadn’t played in three years and his fucking band broke up. Ask him!” Harrison told them they should drive up to his house and simply knock on the door; his wife, Pattie Boyd, would be too polite to turn them down. The Delaney and Bonnie caravan did just that, and Harrison emerged with his guitar and hopped aboard. The experience gave him the chance to play guitar in a relaxed, nonjudgmental atmosphere, without any attendant Beatle hysteria. The Delaney and Bonnie gigs also introduced him to a group of superb American musicians—keyboardist Bobby Whitlock, bassist Carl Radle, drummer Jim Gordon—while cementing Boyd’s growing infatuation with Clapton. At her and Harrison’s house, Boyd told Bonnie Bramlett and Rita Coolidge, one of their backup singers, that she was in love with Clapton and was thinking of leaving Harrison. Neither Bramlett nor Coolidge knew what to say.

By way of Charlie Daniels, the bass player at his casual session with Dylan, Harrison had reached out to Pete Drake, one of Nashville’s most revered pedal steel guitarists. Harrison loved the use of steel guitar on Dylan’s recent albums and wanted to integrate its sweet, supple cry into his own work. At Harrison’s recording sessions, Starr, who drummed on a good deal of the tracks, told Drake he was in a bind. He wanted to make another album in London, but between scheduling time and finding the right pop producer, the process could take months. Inspired by his drive into London—he was picked up in Starr’s six-door Mercedes and saw piles of country cassettes strewn about—Drake flashed on an idea: Why not make a record in Nashville, a town known for its quickturnaround schedules? With Drake producing, the whole thing most likely wouldn’t take more than week.

Before he knew it, Starr, joined by Apple’s Neil Aspinall, was on a plane to Nashville by way of Atlanta. Drake wasn’t joking about efficiency. By the time Starr arrived in Nashville on June 22, Drake had already selected a group of songs for him. One by one, the songwriters appeared at Starr’s hotel room to help him learn the material. Arriving at Music City Studio two days later, his hair and beard newly trimmed as if to prepare for more conservative surroundings, Starr found himself in a very different world than the one he’d left behind. Joining Drake in the control room was Scotty Moore, Presley’s original guitar player. The studio musicians gathered around him, a formidable lineup that included guitarists Jerry Reed and Charlie Daniels, were seasoned, no-nonsense, and hardly in awe of Starr’s presence. “You couldn’t ignore that this was a Beatle,” recalled Daniels. “But the guys were not so overwhelmed, by any stretch of the imagination. They were used to working with stars. It was, ‘Hi, Ringo, we’re happy to have you in town—now let’s work.’”

Even when work began, no one was certain that an Englishman slipping into the role of downbeat redneck would make sense. During his first cracks at tackling the songs, Starr was visibly unnerved at the sight of Drake, an army of Nashville studio pros, and a chorus of backup singers waiting on him to complete a vocal. But gradually Starr warmed up, laughing at his own stumbles and putting everyone at ease. By the end of the third day, Nashville’s assembly-line system had worked once more, resulting in fifteen finished songs.

Some of them, like “Without Her” and “Waiting,” were soapy, overbaked weepers that perhaps intentionally buried Starr’s voice. But Drake wisely chose blue-ribbon honky-tonk songs like “I’d Be Talking All the Time” and “Beaucoups of Blues” that cannily played into Starr’s happyloser persona. The musicianship, from Reed’s speedy picking on “$15 Draw” to the airtight clip-clop beat that drove “Fastest Growing Heartache in the West,” was no joke, and the album featured a genuine moment of anti-Vietnam solemnity. “Silent Homecoming” detailed the arrival of a soldier returning home in a coffin. “Proudly he had served his country/In a war he didn’t seem to understand,” Starr sang, making a more profound political comment in song than any of his former bandmates had yet managed.

Throughout the three days, few of the musicians knew what to make of Starr’s presence in the country capitol. Most had little interaction with him, and Starr declined to speak with a Rolling Stone reporter covering the sessions, only answering a few questions from the young son of one of the musicians. No one dared ask him about the Beatles, and the request to cover “Bridge Over Troubled Water” was ignored. “Ringo wasn’t the top country singer I’ve ever heard,” recalled Daniels. “I have to be honest—I’m a fan of Marty Robbins. But it was an admirable thing to do.”

Throughout, Starr remained his affable, unpretentious self. During a break, he and the musicians gathered in an empty lot next door for a quick photo to grace the in-progress album’s artwork. “He was like one of the guys,” said Ben Keith, a local picker recruited to play dobro and steel guitar, “except he had an English accent.” In anticipation of a possible invasion of press or Beatle fans, three plainclothes cops guarded the studio. Their presence proved unnecessary: No one unexpected or dangerous appeared at Music City the entire time Starr was there.


Arthur and Vivian Janov began working their way around the large, unfurnished room at their Primal Scream Institute on Sunset Boulevard. The patients who needed immediate help and were in palpable psychic pain were the Janovs’ first priority. One by one, the Janovs approached the eighteen or so reclining on pillows or sitting on the soft rugs that had replaced the couches and office furniture once in the room. The Janovs wanted the space to be comfortable and comforting—particularly for two of the patients in the room, John Lennon and Yoko Ono.

On the other side of the country from Nashville, Lennon was having an atypical summer of his own. Several times a week, he and Ono would leave their rental house on a side street in the upscale Los Angeles neighborhood of Bel Air and drive to the Institute. To the surprise of the other patients, they readily settled into the group sessions, which lasted two to three hours each and cost a more than affordable fifty dollars a session. Lennon and Ono’s most intensive conversations, though, occurred in the Janovs’ private office, a small, dimly lit room with padded-wall soundproofing for optimum privacy. “The whole thing,” Arthur Janov recalled, “was to facilitate a return to the past.”

With only Janov at his side (Ono would have her own separate sessions with Vivian Janov), Lennon openly spoke of his personal history. According to Janov, Lennon neither screamed nor curled up in a depressed fetal position. He would sometimes cry but mainly talked—about the Beatles, the sad life of Brian Epstein, and the songs he’d begun writing for an album he’d decided to make on his own. The conversations sometimes continued at the Bel Air home. “I went into a big discourse about religion,” Janov recalled of one conversation there, “and he said, ‘Well, God is a concept by which we measure our pain.’ He would take all these complicated things we were talking about and put them into very simple terms, which was his genius.”

Since Ono was more skeptical of primal scream, her individual sessions with Vivian Janov weren’t as freewheeling. “She came from a very different background,” Vivian Janov said. But during their personal time together, Janov came to realize Ono wanted to use the therapy to repair problems with her and Lennon’s relationship. “They both were in some kind of turmoil over their marriage,” she recalled. “That may have motivated her. She wanted to mend whatever was happening between them.”

The Lennons had planned on staying four months, through the end of August, but the trip was ultimately curtailed. The reasons were never clear. Janov felt Lennon thought the FBI, at Nixon’s request, was monitoring him and attempting to drive him out of the country. Vivian Janov felt he and Ono simply missed home. The fact that the Janovs filmed most of their group primal sessions may have been a factor. Arthur Janov maintained the sessions with Lennon and Ono were never filmed, but that Lennon may have heard they were, and the mere thought of leaked footage was enough to send the couple scurrying back to London. “He probably went to a group where we were filming,” Janov admitted, “but I made damn sure that no film ever got out. And believe me, if I had film I could have been a multimillionaire.”

By late July, they were gone. As a way to acknowledge Janov’s role in helping him reconnect with buried feelings and emotions, Lennon left behind a gift: a songbook of all his Beatle lyrics, each annotated with notes and cartoons. He was leaving another part of himself behind.

Before they returned to England, Lennon and Ono swung up to San Francisco. There, with Jann Wenner of Rolling Stone, they finally saw Let It Be. The movie had premiered in the middle of May in New York, then a week later in London and Liverpool. None of the Beatles attended any of the openings, leaving reporters to resort to gawking at actress Joan Collins, writer and comic Spike Milligan (co-creator of The Goon Show, the revered Monty Python precursor), Apple singer Mary Hopkin, and McCartney’s former girlfriend Jane Asher—hardly an A-list of British celebrities. A special train hired to escort the Beatles to the Liverpool event arrived empty.

Lennon’s private premiere amounted to a daytime showing at a local theater in San Francisco. What he and the general public saw was a fairly unblemished chronicle of four men struggling to connect and work together after the thrill had gone. Even in that regard, though, Let It Be was a letdown. The movie’s dramatic highlight was a mildly testy exchange between McCartney and Harrison, as the former attempted to show the latter how to play a new song. “I’ll play, you know, whatever you want me to play,” Harrison said, his voice dipped in barely controlled irritation. “Or I won’t play at all if you don’t want me to play. Whatever it is that’ll please you, I’ll do it.” Otherwise, Let It Be was largely tedious: footage of the band rehearsing, attempting to rehearse, or killing time between rehearsals. Bashing out their new material in best Cavern Club style reduced sublime songs like “Across the Universe” to clunky thuds. In the course of six short years, the ebullient Beatles of A Hard Day’s Night had been replaced by four grumpier, scruffier men who seemed to be existing in four different worlds. In a strange way, the film’s very dullness was the point: Other than McCartney, who was happy to ham it up for the camera, the others looked disinterested in being Beatles.

Lennon later told Wenner he felt “sad” watching the film. The incessant focus on McCartney and his band-leading ways—and the much smaller amount of footage devoted to Ono—irritated Lennon as well. In another sign that something had ended, the theater was almost empty.


During the first half of the summer, McCartney was at war with the other Beatles on two different, equally frustrating fronts. First were the pop charts. On June 6, McCartney overtook Déjà vu to become the best-selling album in America; Let It Be was stuck at number 2. But what satisfaction McCartney took from those numbers didn’t last. The following week, Let It Be leapt over McCartney to commandeer the number 1 spot, where it remained for four straight weeks.

As a movie, Let It Be was a muddle, and its accompanying album, especially coming after the vacuum-packed cohesion of Abbey Road, was a bit of a mess. It promised spontaneity but delivered it only half the time, in the relatively raw performance of “I Got a Feeling” and off-the-cuff bits of folk songs like “Maggie Mae.” In contrast, the violins and horns Spector had added not only to “The Long and Winding Road” but “I Me Mine” truly did sound as if they’d been inserted at a later date. The applause at the conclusion of “Get Back,” along with Lennon’s instantly famous quip (“I hope we’ve passed the audition”), were grafted onto a studio version of the song. Starting with a cover that featured separate shots of each Beatle, the album felt stitched together with very apparent thread.

Yet for all its blemishes, Let It Be was still remarkable. It was impossible to dismiss an album that featured McCartney’s “Let It Be” and “Get Back,” Lennon’s “Across the Universe,” and Harrison’s English-manor country blues, “For You Blue.” In the movie, “Two of Us” was seen and heard in a coarse electric version dominated by one of McCartney’s more camera-hogging performances. The album version, framed around acoustic guitars and a gentler give-and-take between Lennon and McCartney, was a lovely, touching eulogy. Performances like that were the album’s secret weapon. Far more than anything they’d done since the pre-Sgt. Pepper days, Let It Be captured the sound of the Beatles playing and interacting together as a band. And in another swipe McCartney couldn’t have appreciated, Spector’s choir on “The Long and Winding Road” actually enhanced the emotions in the song in a way that the stripped-down version hadn’t.

McCartney boasted two first-rate, fully realized songs: “Maybe I’m Amazed,” an expression of love and devotion that showcased both McCartney’s most earnest singing and his prowess as a lead guitarist, and “Every Night,” an adult lullaby that again demonstrated McCartney’s innate musicality. But arriving in tandem with his jarring news to the world, the album’s whimsy and offhandedness felt off-putting, even perverse. With its goofy half-songs, instrumentals, and handmade feel, the album was so slight it made “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer,” the Abbey Road trifle so detested by Lennon, seem like heavy metal. The record’s very lightheartedness felt like an affront to Beatle fans everywhere: He “left” the Beatles to bang around on drums, sing along with Linda, and try to convince fans that the trivial, cloying “Junk” should have been included on the White Album?

The second combat front opened up after both albums were battling it out in stores. Two months earlier, McCartney had done the rest of the band a favor by articulating what no one else wanted to make public: The Beatles were no longer the Beatles. Yet the way in which he’d let the world in on it left a bad taste in the mouths of Harrison, Lennon, Starr, and their friends and partners. “They never expected it to be in the paper,” Chris O’Dell recalled. “Things were not good, but did Paul say, ‘I did an interview in the paper tomorrow?’ No. They were pissed off. It changed the complexion of things a lot.”

The aftershock continued in the interactions between their now separate and warring business teams. In June, John Eastman, part of McCartney’s legal team, sent a letter to Allen Klein informing Klein he’d contacted a tax advisor “for an opinion on the suggested dissolution of the partnership. It would be helpful if you too could secure an opinion.” Revealing how personal things were becoming, Eastman added, with veiled sarcasm, “I suggest that you put your fertile mind to work on all the aspects.”

Klein despised Eastman—a trim, officious, upper-crust type—as much as Eastman disliked him. Among other things, Klein hadn’t been pleased when Eastman reportedly ordered strips of black tape placed over Klein’s address on the back cover of every press review copy of McCartney. (Eastman would neither confirm nor deny the reports.) Klein didn’t respond to Eastman’s June letter, but he made his feelings known in other ways. Shortly after noon on July 29, Apple’s Peter Brown phoned Klein, saying, as he recalled in a later court affidavit, that McCartney “should have some regular monthly payment from the Beatles in order to meet the expenses which he would now be paying himself rather than through Beatles and Co.” (Beatles and Co. was now the official name of their business organization.) The requested amount was 1,500 pounds a month. Since EMI royalties would have to go through ABKCO before they were distributed to Apple and then the Beatles, Klein denied McCartney’s request.

Even within McCartney’s own company, money matters were muddy. In 1968, he’d produced one of Apple’s few non-Beatle hits, Welsh singer Mary Hopkin’s modern-vaudeville pop song “Those Were the Days.” The single had been massive, selling millions of copies around the world. But now Apple wanted $135,575—McCartney’s fee as a producer—deducted from the funds it owed the Beatles “for individual record royalties.” The other Beatles were now being financially punished for one of McCartney’s outside assignments.


As Charles Manson stared at him, an “X” mark freshly carved into his forehead with a razor blade (the infamous swastika came later), Vincent Bugliosi prepared to tell the world why Manson had convinced some of his followers to kill. Bugliosi knew some in the legal community would think the sad-eyed deputy district attorney of Los Angeles County was crazy. But now, in the Hall of Justice on the morning of July 24, the first day of the State of California vs. Charles Manson and six of his followers, Bugliosi knew the time had arrived to tell the world that the Beatles indirectly had something to do with it.

Rumors about the connection between Manson and the Beatles had first circulated in February, when an unnamed source in the District Attorney’s office told the Los Angeles Times that prosecutors in the case were examining a possible link between the killers and the White Album. The story spread when it was picked up by the New York Post the following day. As laid out by the source—not Bugliosi, who denied talking to anyone in the media before the trial had begun—the idea seemed too fantastical to be true. Manson envisioned a coming war between blacks and whites in which only Manson and his followers would survive. The best way to inaugurate the war was to slaughter a bunch of white people in Los Angeles and make it appear as if African Americans had committed the crimes.

The story only grew stranger as it continued. To Manson, the entire tale was laid out in the White Album. He interpreted “Honey Pie” (which beckoned someone to “sail across the ocean”) as the Beatles’ message to him. “Happiness Is a Warm Gun” was a communiqué to blacks telling them to prepare to rise up and fight; “Blackbird” supposedly served the same purpose. The war itself would be called “Helter Skelter,” another song on the record; the battle was laid out in the chaotic noise of “Revolution 9.” In another supposed sign of his bond with the Beatles, Manson claimed he’d renamed Susan Atkins “Sadie” long before the album’s “Sexy Sadie.” On it went—all of it, according to Bugliosi’s theory, culminating in the grisly murders the previous August of eight-months-pregnant actress Sharon Tate, coffee heiress Abigail Folger, hairdresser Jay Sebring, writer Wojiciech Frykowski, teenager Steven Parent, and supermarket executive Leno LaBianca and his wife Rosemary.

When the Times and Post stories emerged, the prevailing feeling was disbelief; Rolling Stone ran a skeptical commentary on the reports. But Bugliosi was convinced after two Family members, Brooks Poston and Paul Watkins, told him separately about Manson’s consuming obsession with the album.

In the valleys and canyons of Los Angeles, Manson’s ties with rock and roll were well known; he’d spooked plenty in the music community. Two years earlier, he and members of the Family had crashed at the home of Beach Boy Dennis Wilson; Wilson went so far as to oversee demos of Manson singing his own songs. One of them, “Cease to Exist” (retitled “Never Learn Not to Love” by Wilson), wound up on a Beach Boys album. Returning to his apartment one day, Danny Kortchmar, James Taylor’s lead guitarist, found his place ransacked, guitars and equipment gone. Later, Kortchmar heard the Family may have been responsible; Manson, he heard, dispatched members of his flock to rob musicians’ homes so Manson would have the gear necessary to fulfill his fantasy of being a rock star. Manson had also been angry with record producer Terry Melcher, who’d expressed interest in recording an album of Manson’s songs until he saw the dark side of the diminutive cult leader. Melcher had previously lived at the Cielo Drive house where the Tate murders were committed.

Near Neil Young’s home in Topanga Canyon, everyone knew about Manson. While staying in the house of David Briggs, Young’s friend and producer, Nils Lofgren heard the stories about Manson’s crew and saw the weapons Briggs and his friends were storing in case they came by. One day, Lofgren and Bobby Morse, one of Briggs’ roommates, went to Briggs’ home to pick up something for a session. “Oh, no, it’s that crazy bitch,” Morse said, gesturing at a girl in front of the house, standing beside a car with a flat tire. The girl asked to see another of their roommates. “He’s not here,” Morse said curtly. “You gotta get out of here.” They quickly replaced her tire, but when the girl insisted on staying, Morse told her she couldn’t. “They’re bad people,” Morse told Lofgren after she left, “and we don’t want ’em here.” Months later, when Manson and Family members were arrested on charges of murder, Lofgren recognized the girl as one of the accomplices.

The chilly repercussions extended to the U.K. Just before the murders, Dan Richter was living at the home Lennon had owned before Tittenhurst. Afraid the Lennons were next in line and that the killers might discover where he lived, the Richters moved, at Lennon and Ono’s invitation, to Tittenhurst.

In his opening statement in court, Bugliosi hardly minced words when relaying his theory. “The evidence will show Manson’s fanatical obsession with ‘Helter Skelter,’ a term he got from the English musical group the Beatles,” he told the jury. “Manson was an avid follower of the Beatles and believed that they were speaking to him across the ocean through the lyrics of their songs.” To bolster his case, Bugliosi entered the White Album as evidence, along with a door from Spahn Ranch (where the Family had been living) on which “Helter Skelter” had been scrawled. The lyrics to the songs were read into evidence.

To Bugliosi’s surprise, no public outcry greeted his theory. Leaving the courtroom that day, no reporters besieged him to ask for further details. He didn’t know whether to be shocked or not. Bugliosi himself never heard from any of the Beatles or their representatives. Even if the public, press, or his fellow lawyers thought he was insane, the jury made it clear it took his theory seriously. During the trial, they requested a stereo for the deliberation room along with their own copy of the Beatles’ two-LP set.

For a moment, the Beatles themselves were almost pulled into the case when Manson’s defense team sent a writ to Lennon to testify. “We feel he may want to explain the lyrics,” a member of the team told the Associated Press. Reached for comment by the press, Apple spokesman Derek Taylor was pithy as always. Requesting Lennon’s presence at the trial, he said, was “like summoning Shakespeare to explain Macbeth.” Besides, he added, it was McCartney, not his former band partner, who wrote “Helter Skelter.” The plan ran aground when Manson’s lawyers couldn’t find a way to physically administer summonses to each Beatle. Apparently, none of them knew that, during the jury-selection process that began in mid June, Lennon was in their very city, undergoing primal scream therapy.

Five months later, Rolling Stone’s Wenner asked Lennon about the trial and Manson’s interpretations of some of his songs. “He’s balmy, he’s like any other Beatle kind of fan who reads mysticism into it,” he said of Manson. “ . . . I don’t know, what’s ‘Helter Skelter’ got to do with knifing somebody? I’ve never listened to the words properly, it was just noise.” The trial and the association was just another death knell for his former band.


Although he’d been disturbed at the thought of being disliked by the general public, McCartney was simultaneously doing his best to extricate himself from the Beatles. To move matters along, he reached out to Lennon first. They should “let each other out of the trap,” McCartney argued in a letter sent from Scotland to his one-time bandmate. “How and why?” Lennon wrote back, scribbling his words on a photograph of himself and Ono.

Barely containing his irritation, even by mail, McCartney responded with a new letter: “How by signing a paper which says we hereby dissolve the partnership. Why because there is no partnership.” Lennon’s last response was a postcard in which he suggested McCartney “get the other signatures and I will think about it.”

The irony couldn’t have been lost on McCartney. Almost a year earlier, Lennon had declared to all who could hear that he wanted out of the band—and, on top of it, during a meeting in which McCartney pressed for ways to keep them active. Now, McCartney was the one attempting to talk Lennon into taking legal action to dissolve the partnership, something Lennon wanted more than he—or so it seemed at the time.

As the two men hashed out their Morse Code messages by mail, their once beloved Apple Corps was dying a little more each day. Press Office employee and stalwart Richard DiLello was fired after an unflattering newspaper article about the company appeared in the British press. The phones barely rang. The first week of August, the Apple Press Office was officially shut down. Even though each Beatle was at work on one project or another, there was little to publicize; Lennon by then had hired his own flak. According to the London Evening Standard, Apple was “little more than a center for collecting their royalties and dealing with their private affairs.” The building was almost empty.

Still, gathering those royalties was someone’s increasingly unpleasant job. On June 28, Eastman had informed ABKCO that McCartney needed to be paid royalties for the McCartney album. Finally, over two months later, on September 7, ABKCO wrote to Eastman, informing him his client was owed 391,000 British pounds from EMI for U.S. sales of McCartney. But, as ABKCO noted, the money wasn’t forthcoming since EMI didn’t know whether to send the funds to ABKCO or McCartney’s own company—a matter of confusion that even EMI admitted was true. “We find ourselves in an embarrassing position,” an EMI representative acknowledged in a letter to Eastman. “We have, as you will appreciate, two claimants to the same money.” As a result, the funds were frozen yet again.

Even though he was hunkered down in Scotland, physically removed from the business and any of his associates, McCartney grew more exasperated. Despite the public outcry that accompanied his announcement in April, he decided to be even more explicit about the state of the band. In response to a report in Melody Maker that a reunion was possible, McCartney sent a handwritten letter to the newspaper printed in its August 30 issue: “My answer to the question ‘Will the Beatles get together again?’ is no,” he wrote, a far more candid answer than the one he’d given himself months before. He added it was time “to put out of its misery the limping dog of a news story which has been dragging itself across your pages for the past year.”

As summer began to fade, John Eastman and his wife flew to Edinburgh, Scotland, and drove five hours south, eventually arriving at the McCartneys’ farm in Campbeltown. The trip was grueling but purposeful. During many discussions and several long hikes over four days, Eastman and McCartney talked about the next step in dissolving the Beatles. Both were worried that Klein was spending their money and not paying the required taxes. They talked about McCartney doing the inevitable: suing his bandmates and Klein, how nasty the proceedings could be, and how it would make McCartney look. Always concerned about his image, McCartney was wary but increasingly exhausted.

On another clear, brisk day, standing atop a hill that overlooked a loch, McCartney came to a decision. “Sue Klein—go ahead,” he told Eastman. McCartney appeared calm and relieved. The press release accompanying his album would be far from his only surprise of the year.

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